A Bittersweet Goodbye

Original Post Date: January 2008

I sit on the stand, counting down my final moments as a Red Bridge YMCA Lifeguard.  Passing by those moments with excitement of the adventurous path my life is heading. Dreaming of the snow topped mountains and the dusty sand of the desert, only to realize what I’m leaving behind.  I’ve spent my whole life among the cornfields surrounded by the Missouri State borders where I call home. Realizing this unsettles my nerves. I’ve never lived more than four hours away from the generous woman who brought me in to this world.  To do so would mean leaving behind a sense of security I’ve felt my entire life. I begin to think “am I ready for this?” In answer to this question I remind myself I still have two months in St. Louis until my final move to Reno, NV. I am, however, leaving the last three years of my life in Kansas City in under a week. Here I have seen and done many great things, but most importantly I have met many incredible people. The memories of those things I’ve seen and done will eventually fade.  However, the impact of those people will forever remain.

I hand over the duties of the pool for the last time, and one last time I erase my name from the guard board in fear it will also be erased from the hearts of Kansas City. I then make my final walk from the pool deck to the exit. Memories flash through my mind as if they were presently happening. Vivid details of the many conversations I’ve shared with the members and of the growing I’ve done.

When I first came to Kansas City, I was a twenty year old girl who had no idea of what kind of path she had laid for herself. That girl then was shy and easily intimidated with little experience to how the world works. My experience may not be much more now, but there is a lot I learned working with the Red Bridge YMCA. I overall feel I have become a mature and more intelligent young woman as opposed to a little girl.

I feel I have the many people I’ve met in Kansas City to thank. The kindness I’ve been offered and the many stories I’ve heard from those who have a lot to offer. I feel that God placed me in this city with all the people I’ve come to know for a reason. I feel he has done this to make me a stronger and caring individual. These past few days I’ve been forced to say my goodbyes with all of you. With every single goodbye I’ve had to fight back many tears.

I say my final goodbye with a person who has influenced me and guided me in many more ways than she can ever imagine. Once again fighting back the tears, I walk through the double doors down the path to the parking lot fighting my every urge to take one last look at the faces that have greeted me every morning for the past two years. I reach my car climb in, start my car and drive to the exit of the parking lot. I look left and then right before making my final right turn. Giving in to the urge to look back I look through my rear view mirror to see my many experiences of a great place and people fade away. No longer able to fight it hot moist tears drip down from my eyes.

There are many words to say how much the YMCA has affected me and to say them all would take the length of a novel. For now, I will end it there to spare you and myself the pain of such a bittersweet goodbye.

I know some would say a dramatic I am, but it is how I feel.

I wish everyone in Kansas City a happy and full future!


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